County Historical Museum

Painted Bear outside County Historical Museum

The County Historical Museum in Murphy, North Carolina displays the rich history of Native American and pioneer settlers in the far-western corner of the state. The museum is housed in a historic Carnegie Library building in downtown Murphy.

Rich in Cherokee History

The Museum's exhibits include:

  • Collection of over 2,000 Cherokee artifacts, assembled over a span of fifty years by local resident Arthur Palmer
  • 40 exhibit panels with drawings and photographs that interpret local Cherokee history and culture
  • Antique farm implements and vintage household items (many hand-made) used by early pioneer settlers in the county
  • Over 700 collectible dolls, donated by local resident Louise Kilgore
  • Trail of Tears National Historic Trail in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains

The museum serves as an interpretive center for the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Murphy was once the site of Fort Butler, one of the main holding areas for Cherokees who were being removed from North Carolina in the 1830s. Other sites in and around Murphy play a prominent role in Cherokee history, mythology, and culture.

The museum houses a replica of the log cabin dwellings used by the Cherokee residents of the area at the time of their removal. This type of dwelling was also typical of that used by pioneer settlers, many of whom moved into the vacated Cherokee cabins.

In front of the building rests an ancient stone turtle carved from soapstone that is associated with a Cherokee creation legend.


The Museum is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Saturdays May - October 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.  Closed Sunday. Tours are offered to school children, elder hostels, seniors and other groups by appointment.

Admission Fees

Admission is $3.00 for adults and $1.00 for children.


The Museum is located in downtown Murphy next door to the Cherokee County Courthouse. From US 74 West, exit to the right at the light where US 64 joins US 74 from the East, and follow Peachtree Street several blocks to the downtown.

Cherokee County Historical Museum

Director: Terrisa Carringer

87 Peachtree Street

Murphy, NC 28906

(828) 837-6792

cchistoricalmuseum [at]

Information provided by Cherokee County Tourism Authority